Former diplomats: Iraq must stay united

KUSA - A growing and violent insurgency is sweeping through Iraq and the U.S. is deploying 275 troops to secure the American embassy in Baghdad.

The Islamist group ISIS began taking over northern and western sections of Iraq and is moving towards Baghdad. ISIS is Sunni and wants an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. Iraq's predominantly Shiite government and military appear unwilling or unable to quell the uprising.

"For anyone who has worked in Iraq, this is very depressing stuff," former ambassador Christopher Hill said. He is now dean of DU's Korbel School of International Studies.

The insurgent group ISIS now stands within striking distance of Iraq's capital-- a mere 60 miles. Having witnessed a costly war firsthand, Hill knows how precarious the situation is.

"What goes through your mind is a trillion dollars in an effort to try and keep Iraq together and build a democracy and that's not looking like a very good investment at this point," he said.

Hill was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq from 2009 to 2010 under President Obama.

He believes the U.S. should not send combat troops back in, but thinks the current situation calls for some U.S. military action.

"I would advocate that the U.S. needs to be engaged in terms of air strikes," Hill said.

Paul Bremer served as U.S. Special Envoy to Iraq under President George W. Bush.

He also supports airstrikes.

"I think getting involved will involve- not having combat troops on the ground- but probably having some American military to help with intelligence," Bremer said.

Both being men of diplomacy, though, they agree that, in the end, crafting a peace deal will be crucial to keep the country from descending into civil war.

"Only the United States can really be effective at brokering across the sectarian and ethnic fracture lines across Iraq," Bremer said.

Hill also said, putting together such a deal will require cooperation from across the region.

"We need to have a full court diplomatic press in the entire region, to make sure the region understands that this is a situation dangerous to everybody," Hill said.

That greater region could even include talks with Iran. The U.S. and Iran have had what have been described as "brief discussions" over the situation in Iraq. Both countries have a vested interest in a stable Iraq because of fears the violence there could spread beyond its borders.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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